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Justice Department steps up campaign to renew Patriot Act, lists "civil liberties safeguards"
Previous Politech messages:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2005
TDD (202) 514-1888
CIVIL LIBERTIES SAFEGUARDS IN THE USA PATRIOT ACT
The Administration has scored a number of key victories in the War on
Terror over the past four years, many as a result of expanded
information sharing and investigative tools provided by the USA PATRIOT
Act. On December 31, 2005, 16 key provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act
will expire unless the Senate acts to reauthorize them.
After months of debate-including 23 Congressional hearings with over 60
witnesses-the Senate must act to reauthorize the USA PATRIOT Act before
these key provisions expire. Last week, the House of Representatives
voted to reauthorize the bill with strong bipartisan support. Now, four
years after voting 98-1 to approve the USA PATRIOT Act, it is time for
the Senate finish the job and allow law enforcement to maintain the
vital tools it needs to keep America safe.
Despite a four-year track record with no verified civil liberties
abuses, the current bill adds more than 30 new significant civil
liberties safeguards. Unless the Senate reauthorizes the USA PATRIOT
Act, these additional civil liberties protections will also be lost.
These protections include:
Sections 102-103 (sunsets): The reauthorization bill includes four year
sunsets on three provisions: section 206, which authorizes FISA
multipoint ("roving") electronic surveillance; section 215, which
amended the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act's (FISA) business
records provision; and the "lone wolf" provision from the Intelligence
Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004.
Sections 106 and 106A (amending section 215): The reauthorization bill
adds significant new safeguards to section 215 court orders.
* requires high-level approval for requests for sensitive categories of
records such as library records and medical records;
* clarifies the appropriate standard for obtaining such an order;
* explicitly allows a judge to deny or modify an application;
* requires the use of so-called "minimization procedures" to limit
retention and dissemination of information concerning United States
Persons and protect privileged documents;
* explicitly clarifies that a recipient may disclose receipt to an
attorney or others necessary to comply with the order;
* provides explicitly for judicial challenges to any section 215 order;
* for the first time requires public reporting of the number of section
* requires additional and specific classified reporting to congressional
* requires the Inspector General to conduct an audit of each Justice
Department use of section 215.
Section 107 (amending section 212): Section 107 adds a reporting
requirement with respect to good-faith emergency disclosures to the
government by electronic communications service providers and makes
technical fixes to the law to clarify congressional intent.
Section 108 (amending section 206): Section 108 imposes several
additional safeguards on the use of multipoint electronic surveillance
under FISA. Specifically it:
* requires additional specificity from an applicant before "roving"
surveillance that follows a target from cell phone to cell phone may be
* clarifies that a judge granting surveillance must ensure in the order
that the surveillance is authorized only for the target in the application;
* requires increased specificity for applications for surveillance where
a description of the target, rather than the target's actual identity,
is provided to the court, so that each application describes a single,
* requires investigators to inform the court within 10 days when
"roving" surveillance authority is used to target a new facility-such as
when a terrorist or spy changes to a different cell phone;
* requires investigators to inform the court on an ongoing basis of the
total number of places or facilities under surveillance pursuant to a
"roving" surveillance order; and
* requires additional reporting to Congress.
Section 109: Section 109 requires additional reporting to Congress on
the use of FISA authorities and the FISA court to develop and publish
rules of procedure.
Section 114 (amending section 213): Section 114 adds several additional
protections on the use of delayed-notice search warrants. Specifically it:
* requires a court to set a deadline for the initial period of delay,
one that presumptively must be within 30 days of the search;
* requires the applicant to provide the court with an updated showing of
necessity before the delay period may be extended;
* provides that any extension should be a period of 90 days or less
except in exceptional circumstances; and
* requires public reporting on the use of delayed notice search warrants.
Sections 115-119 (regarding National Security Letter authorities): The
reauthorization bill adds significant new safeguards to each of the
National Security Letter (NSL) statutes. The report:
* clarifies that a recipient may disclose receipt to an attorney or
others necessary for compliance;
* provides explicitly for a judicial challenge to an NSL;
* provides that a nondisclosure order does not automatically attach to
* provides explicit judicial review of a nondisclosure requirement
accompanying an NSL;
* requires the Justice Department official to re-certify that
nondisclosure is necessary, or else to let the nondisclosure provision
lapse, if a nondisclosure requirement is challenged more than a year
after the NSL issues;
* provides that only certifications by a few Senate-confirmed officials,
made at the time a petition is filed, are entitled to a heightened
degree of deference;
* adopts the Senate passed (by unanimous consent) standard of review for
* for the first time, requires public reporting on the use of NSL
* requires additional reporting to Congress on the use of NSL
* requires the Inspector General to conduct an audit of the Justice
Department's use of NSLs.
Section 126: Section 126 requires a report to Congress on any use of
data-mining programs by the Department of Justice.
Posted by Declan McCullagh on Dec 20, 2005
in category privacy
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